Doha gearing up for athletics spectacle

Gold medals are never won alone. Those crowning moments on the podiums see individuals celebrate their triumphs but that’s just the end of the story, with many individuals having their own chapters in the journey to success.

There’s always a team behind sporting successes, whether it’s the coach, the sport science and medical experts or the support from family members helping to lift the performances of the athlete and help inspire them to victory.

Inspiration for success is spreading throughout Qatar as communities across Doha and further afield become the team behind-the-scenes to galvanise a whole country to deliver success at the highly anticipated IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, which gets underway in just 50 days’ time.

Qatar is establishing itself on the top of the podium for delivering sporting events, with tens of thousands of individuals playing key roles which will ensure the whole world takes notice of the country which is showing a warmth to welcome the world this September.

From volunteers dedicating their time to the Championships, through to major Qatar-based businesses and community leaders; everybody is looking to get involved in the 10-day Championships which gets under way on Friday, September 27.

Nobody wants to miss out on the action which has already seen over 10,000 selfies taken with Falah the Falcon mascot who has a celebrity status throughout Doha after his visits to summer camps, malls, coffee shops and iconic locations.

More selfies will undoubtedly follow at the stadium from athletics fans travelling thousands of miles to witness the world’s best athletes, but who are the people that are helping to put on the Championships?

To celebrate the countdown milestone, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) is focusing on some of the stories of those key people helping to deliver the Championships under the guidance of H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee.

“It’s a big responsibility for the biggest event that has come to Qatar and we have a great team of people working at the stadium who are experts in so many areas,” explained Myloreen Millanes, who moved to Qatar three years ago from the Philippines.

Whilst the senior and operational figures ensure a smooth procedure for the 2,000 athletes, ensuring the best environment for the highest performance, community leaders are also ensuring a memorable event, such as John O’Shea Ngurugwe, a Kenyan who has lived in Qatar for 10 years and keen to drum up support at the Championships.

“I am extremely passionate about sport, as are most Kenyans,” explained Ngurugwe, a health and safety manager.

“We have a long history in athletics and we are expecting our athletes to do well at this championships and we will be there to cheer them on and give them our full support. I am a Kenyan community leader and therefore being the ‘mouth-piece’ of the community in the planning and execution of the event to ensure all Kenyans here will have their representation,” he said.

The multicultural feel-good vibes will be echoed around the stadium during the competition, but fans will also get a taste of different communities before even entering Khalifa International Stadium, thanks to the vibrant World Athletics Village.

The Khalifa International Stadium. In just 50 days’ time the state-of-the-art venue will host the biggest ever sporting event to come to the Middle East, with the world’s finest athletes competing to win gold.

“This will be the biggest event we have held here. Our team is really excited and looking forward to it. I love seeing the progress Qatar is making in Sport,” said the Head of Khalifa International Stadium, Ali Hassan Al Mansouri who has seen continued growth at the venue since he started work there over 30 years ago.

The World Athletics Village will be one of the biggest fan zones, with a global feel offering cuisine from across the world, along with live entertainment getting underway each afternoon, with different community groups giving high energy performances to add to the excitement before the competition even gets underway.

With residents from over 80 different countries calling Qatar their home, a real effort has been made to unite everybody, whether it’s through schools or sponsorship activations in Ooredoo Stores or through Qatar Airways initiatives.

“Having the IAAF World Athletics Championships here in Doha is a huge honour and being part of it is a dream come true,” said Ooredoo’s Director of CSR, Sponsorship and Media, Moza Khalid Al Muhannadi.

“I look forward to showing the world what we are capable of doing, and to creating memories that will last a lifetime. Qatar has a spirit of generosity along with an eagerness to show what we’ve accomplished in our beautiful country.”

A large expat community in Qatar has witnessed first-hand that generosity, including Liz McColgan who holds an iconic sporting status in Qatar, thanks to her well established Doha Athletic Club which sees sporting hopefuls of all ages train under her guidance, having won gold at the World Athletics Championships in Tokyo.

“I love the kids that I coach as I have met many different nationalities in my 6 years in Doha,” explained Liz, who manages the club alongside her husband John Nuttall.

“For sport, Doha has some of the best facilities in the world and as a country I love how strong it is in its heritage and culture,” she said.

With meetings for the Championships taking place on evenings, rather than split sessions, it allows the thousands  international guests and media to experience the heritage and culture of the country which is something that means a lot to Qatari pilot, Captain Khalid Issa Al Hamadi who will be flying fans to Qatar this September.

“As a pilot, what I love most about Qatar is that from up in the sky I have seen the country quickly develop in just a short time but at the same time we have remained true to our country’s traditions and heritage. Many of the new buildings are a reflection of our culture and history. We have also not let this rapid growth and development change our values with visitors continuing to receive traditional Arabic hospitality,” Al Hamadi said.

Ensuring the traditional Qatari hospitality is showcased to the world, the LOC devised strong links across the community, which when combining the number of school children, along with initiatives and partner engagement, will see over 100,000 people in Qatar have played a role in the IAAF World Athletics Championships which still has tickets available priced from just QR60.

Now with just 50 days to go until the Championships get under way, Sheikha Asma Al Thani, Director of Marketing and Communications for the LOC, is encouraging more people to get involved.

“This is the biggest sporting event that the region has ever hosted so why would people not want to come and watch it or play a part?,” Sheikha Asma said.

“We have seen amazing efforts across the country from people getting involved, with is clear from the diverse people shown in the 50 days countdown. The Championships will see Qatar unite with the whole world, so no matter where you are from there is a strong connection with your own culture and everybody can help make sure that the world knows how great of a country Qatar is with so much to offer,” Sheikha Asma added.

Fans can purchase tickets for the competition online, with the easy online process found via   https://iaafworldathleticschamps.com/doha2019/ while a number of mobile ticketing stations can be found throughout malls in Doha.

All of the latest news can be found by social media, where fans can hare their athletics stories using the official social media channels @IAAFDoha2019.

 Source: Peninsula